With so much to experience, here’s how to make the most out of your visit to The Kingdom.
Start your trip in Killarney
The vibrant town of Killarney is known for its rich heritage and hospitality. Sitting on the shores of Lough Leane and flanked by the National Park, the town is an epicentre of incredible scenery and world-famous attractions. Base yourself there for a couple of days if places like the Gap of Dunloe, MacGillycuddy's Reeks, Torc Waterfall or Ross Castle are on your must-see list.
Killarney National Park
Just minutes from the centre of town, Killarney’s National Park is a magnificent 26,000 acres of unspoiled, rugged landscape. The park encompasses Ireland’s highest mountain Carrauntoohil which stands at over 1,000 metres high.
Explore gorgeous looped walks, tranquil woodlands and legendary lakes, keeping an eye out for wonderful wildlife. The park is a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and home to the only herd of native red deer in Ireland.
Muckross House and Gardens
In the National Park you’ll find the beautifully maintained Muckross House and Gardens which you can explore on a tour. A fine example of a 19th century Victorian mansion, the house contains original period furniture and artworks. See the grandeur experienced by the gentry who once lived there and take a fascinating peek at the realities of servant life.
Head west to the Dingle Peninsula
Surfing at Inch Strand
From Killarney, travel towards the Kerry coast for 40 minutes and jump on a surfboard at Inch Strand. The iconic 5km stretch of sand is just one of Ireland’s many Blue Flag beaches popular with swimmers, surfers and anglers. Book a surf lesson or hire wetsuits and boards from Offshore Surf School. Staying on dry land? A stroll along on this breathtaking beach, especially at sunset, is worth every second of the journey.
The South Pole Inn at Annascaul
Ten minutes from Inch, The South Pole Inn in Annascaul is named after world-famous Antarctica explorer Tom Crean’s adventures. A native of the small Kerry village, Crean’s legacy is displayed triumphantly throughout the pub, with newspaper articles, photos and memorabilia in every corner and, outside, a bronze statue of the man himself.
Foodie fun in Dingle
Just 15 minutes from Annascaul, you’ll reach the colourful port town of Dingle which is known as much for its incredible scenery as its legendary welcome (and of course its celebrity dolphin, Fungie).
Here you can really enjoy authentic food and drink like the locally sourced menu at The Chart House, a family-run, stone cottage restaurant. After dinner, great craic and live music awaits at local favourite, Dick Mack’s. Serving up drinks since 1899, in typical Dingle style, Dick Mack’s also functions as a shop. On one side, sample beer and a large array of Irish whiskeys. On the other, stock up on leather goods.
For a more hands-on food experience, Dingle Cookery School’s Catch and Cook course involves venturing out on a fishing boat and bringing back your bounty to prepare yourself. Or why not tackle more intricate skills, like fermentation or sourdough bread making. While you’re there, head along to the neighbouring Dingle Whiskey Distillery for a tour and a taste.
While you’re in the area…
The Slea Head Drive
Leaving Dingle, set out on the Slea Head drive for views of the Atlantic roaring below dramatic cliff faces. This scenic, circular route brings you right back to Dingle.
Take a boat to The Blasket Islands
Just 25 minutes outside Dingle on the Slea Head route, The Blasket Centre is a heritage centre and museum that tells the story of a tiny Irish community who lived on the remote Blasket Islands until 1953. Learn what life was like for the islanders and, if you have time, take a boat trip to the island and explore this hidden treasure for yourself with an overnight stay in a restored cottage.
Visit a Star Wars location at Ballyferriter
Not too ‘far far away’ from Dingle, George Lucas’s crew were based in the town of Ballyferriter while filming Star Wars. At Ceann Sibéal, they recreated the monastic settlement of Skellig Michael, featured at the end of The Force Awakens and in The Last Jedi.
If you have time to spare in Kerry
Drive through Conor Pass
Head towards Tralee as you drive the dramatic route through Conor Pass - one of the highest mountain passes in Ireland. The narrow, twisting roads also make for an unforgettable experience by bike, for experienced cyclists only. Unmissable views along the route include stunning glaciated landscapes in the sweeping valley below - you won’t be disappointed.
With so many epic things to experience and explore, you’re sure to leave Kerry with memories made and tales to tell.